December 11, 2019
- December is the perfect time to take stock of your achievements and challenges. This checklist is designed to help you organize your business’s finances and objectives. Understanding where you have been will help you develop a roadmap to growth and success in 2020.
- Analyze Your Finances – If you utilize an accountant, schedule time to meet and review your account. If you manage your own finances gather all of your reports and budget information. Compare your profits and expenses to those of previous years. Review your cash flow, pricing and tax payments. By first looking at the details and then stepping back to view the big picture you can isolate problems and plan ahead. Do you need to adjust pricing or cut expenses? Now is a good time to consider these questions.
- Develop a Budget – Do not set a budget based on unrealistic expectations. Be conservative in your estimates. Use the previous year’s profits as a basis for your budget projection. Anticipate any major expenses in the coming year. Your budget should be an accurate forecast of profits and expenses for 2020.
- Get Your Records Up to Date – Now is a good time to make sure your records are ready for the new year. Update employee files and customer contact info. Prepare for upcoming tax filings. Tying up loose ends before the new year will help you get off to a great start.
- Assess Your Risk – Carefully review your liabilities. Determine whether you have adequate insurance to protect your assets. Look at your contracts to make sure you understand your rights and obligations. Review your HR policies to confirm adherence to employment regulations and best practices. Your business attorney can help review the terms of an insurance policy or a business contract. They can also answer questions about HR regulations where you do business.
- Look Back at Success – Where did your business succeed in 2019? Did you land a great new client or complete a major project? Think about what you did right that led to your success. Understanding what your business did right will make it easier to replicate success in the future.
- Update and Review Your Marketing – Are you making the most of your marketing. Update your website. If you are not already using social media, consider how it might improve your marketing reach. Consider how you can reach out to previous customers to spur repeat and word-of-mouth business.
- Review Challenges – It is equally important to look back at the past year’s challenges. Consider not only what led to those challenges, but also what got you through them. Did you have difficulty collecting on past due accounts? Perhaps a new payment policy would help. Being proactive will help you avoid dealing with the same mistakes in the new year.
- Set Goals for 2020 – Whether you want to launch a new marketing campaign or improve customer service you will need a plan of action. Write out your goals for the future. It is important to set concrete goals and realistic expectations. Review your goals throughout the year to track your progress.